My day with a working journalist: Stephanie Hayes of The Tampa Bay Times

tbt3tbt2tbtBy Madison Irwin

On Thursday, April 11th, I had the chance to follow, or “shadow”, a staff writer from The Tampa Bay Times, Stephanie Hayes. Although I aspire to become a journalist for a magazine and not a newspaper, this was a great experience for me. I learned so many things about the profession that I never even knew before, in just a few short hours of my visit. I found her daily career routine to be quite fascinating. Whether it be going out to interview people or writing a hard-hitting story, the journalism profession is anything but boring.
Apart from the Tampa Bay Times, Hayes writes for The Floridian Paper once a week. She also maintains an online blog as a side job, called “Steph Infections”, which covers everything from books to fashion. She use to write for the entertainment section but now writes for the news section. Hayes covers pop culture and higher education(mostly at USF). “Features is sort of my one true love but I also love writing about the youth”, she said. “The thing that I love most about my job is that there is always something going on. I’m always thinking and learning new things.”
Hayes started off the visit by giving me a tour around her workplace. The room in which she worked in was quite spacious, as well as her cubicle. The office was broken up into journalists of specific sections. I was introduced to a few people, such as her office manager and the editor of The Regionals. Hayes showed us the studio in which photographers take the featured person/s picture. I also had the chance to take a look inside the “morg” room,which is pretty much just a room full of stacks on stacks of old newspaper issues.
After that, Hayes brought us to her cubicle and she showed us how her job works on her computer. She recieves e-mails from her editor about new stories and she can decide if she wants to cover it or not. If she doesn’t then she can forward it to a staff writer who might want to write up that story. Hayes also showed us her blog. She said that she gets a lot of her inspiration from social networking sites. She also told us how she recently interviewed the stylist for the movie Spring Breakers.
Hayes gave me some helpful advice as well. “The main thing is to try and get internships.The only way you learn is through experience. Also, get out there and meet as many people as you can.”, she said. All in all, I learned a lot of things and really enjoyed my time with Stephanie Hayes. She was very nice and willing to provide me with plenty of information. She makes the job seem so fun and I can’t wait to see what lays ahead of me in my career path.

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